Greetings cards specialist Clinton Cards has asked landlords if it can pay its September rent in stages to ensure smooth cashflow.

The retailer wants to pay a third of its rent two weeks after the due date at the end of September, The Independent newspaper reported.

The request comes as retailers battle through punishing trading conditions and landlords expect more requests to cut or stagger rental payments to enable retailers to trade through to Christmas, their most important period for profitability.

Clinton Cards, which Darcy Willson-Rymer will join from Starbucks as chief executive in October, is thought to have made similar requests in previous Septembers.

There has also been speculation that Clinton could be taken private.